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70 Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes From Kale Salad to Corn Pudding

Whether you’re a Turkey Day-traditionalist or prefer to create a new menu every year, there’s one thing we can likely agree on: Thanksgiving dinner is really all about the side dishes. From the rich, buttery staples (see: stuffings, potatoes, and biscuits galore) to roasted vegetables and cranberry sauce, we’ve collected 76 of our best Thanksgiving side dishes.

When it comes to this holiday, turkey—as much as I love the taste of it with its drippings and the amazing future sandwiches it’s destined to root—is the one true side at my table.

Thanksgiving lets you go the extra mile with the supporting characters, so much so that, for many, they somehow end up becoming the stars of the show.

It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it, when the underdog finally gets to shine?

I’m a sides guy, in short. I think many people are. Which is why it makes sense to really nail down your mix because there’s a lot going on in side dish land: You’ve got to keep some mainstay classics because the point of Thanksgiving is, on the one hand, tradition: the comfort of repetition and family and the dinner table.

On the other hand, time (and the day off!) to do nothing but dwell in the kitchen, cooking and communing and experimenting with new recipes. In the midst of all the cheesy casseroles and starchy starches (the reliable standbys), it helps to throw in something green, or something crunchy, or something fresh and vibrant and zingy—something novel. Eye-opening side dishes that will become, in their magnificence, new classics.

I’ve gathered below our best Thanksgiving side dish recipes, including some of our latest favorites. With so many options, the hardest part will just be choosing what to make.

1. Vegan Stuffing With Mushrooms & Nori

Is it even Thanksgiving if you don’t have stuffing on your table? This version will impress your vegan and meat-eating guests alike, thanks to the deeply-savory combination of mushrooms, nori seaweed, and nutritional yeast.

2. Kimchi Cheddar Biscuits

This recipe features everything we love about biscuits (think: tall layers and ample quantities of butter) but introduces fiery kimchi and sharp cheddar cheese into the mix. The final product is equal parts tangy, flaky, and savory.

3. Raw & Caramelized Brussels Sprouts With Salty-Sweet Pepitas

Brussels sprouts are a Thanksgiving staple, but rather than roasting them, try this salad that features the cruciferous vegetable both raw and cooked. This method gives you the best of both worlds—sprouts that are caramelized and sweet and equally refreshing.

4. Blistered Green Beans & Sweet Potatoes With Tahini

You can’t go wrong with serving a classic green bean casserole or marshmallow-topped sweet potato bake. But if you’re hoping to try something new this year, why not combine the two vegetables into one super side dish? Earthy sweet potatoes and garlicky green beans are a natural pairing, especially when combined with a creamy, nutty tahini dressing.

5. Bacon Mac & Cheese With Buttery Sage Bread Crumbs From Will Coleman

Mac and cheese is a Thanksgiving staple in many households, especially in the South—and for good reason. It’s comfort food at its finest. This recipe is especially fall-friendly, thanks to the inclusion of sage in its crispy bacon-panko topping.

6. Cornbread Stuffing, but Make It Taco

For a stuffing that’s almost guaranteed to be the meal’s most memorable dish, look no further than Sohla El-Waylly’s Taco Bell-inspired version. After all, adding shredded cheese, taco seasoning, and sour cream to your plate is never a bad idea.

7. Jiffy “Corn Casserole”

This old-fashioned corn recipe dates back to the 1970s, but remains a side dish staple for Thanksgiving in households all across America.

8. Hasselback Potato Skillet Bake

Hasselback potatoes are popular because they look great, are far easier to make than you might expect, and taste like the happy medium between a baked and roasted potato. While normally the roast turkey is what draws the oohs and ahhs, this year’s guests won’t be able to get enough of this Thanksgiving side.

9. Fluffy, Buttery Dinner Rolls

A lot of people would likely say that they could do without the roast turkey on Thanksgiving. The one dish that’s non-negotiable is these perfect dinner rolls.

10. Baked Sweet Potatoes With Maple Crème Fraîche From Nik Sharma

Make sweet potatoes even, well, sweeter with a maple syrup-infused cream topping.

11. Golden Carrot Soufflé

“Don’t be intimidated by the word soufflé here. This recipe is a snap to put together, no fussy directions or paper cones or scary pan prep directions. You just cook the carrots, whiz everything in the food processor, and bake in a buttered dish,” writes recipe developer CreamTea.

12. Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits from Carla Hall

Are you on team dinner roll or team biscuit? Frankly, we need both on the table, and these fluffy, flaky, buttery biscuits hit all the marks.

13. Quinoa with Roasted Beets and Pear

Sweet pears and earthy roasted beets are a fantastic fall pairing (or should we say, PEAR-ing) for a light quinoa salad.

14. Minnie Utsey’s No-Fail Cornbread

Whether you eat cornbread in the form of a Thanksgiving stuffing, baked in a cast-iron skillet, or cut into individual squares, it will never disappoint. When you want to keep things simple and timeless, try Minnie Utsey’s classic soul food formula made with yellow cornmeal and sugar.

15. Roasted Carrots & Beets With Crispy Buckwheat & Dill Yogurt

This naturally gluten-free side dish recipe for Thanksgiving features a robust duo of roasted carrots and beets. A sprinkling of caraway seeds brings a subtle earthy flavor and crunch to every bite.

16. Roasted Vegetables with Bright & Crunchy Herbed Topping

Dress up roasted vegetables (any that you like!) with a crunchy combination of toasted quinoa, lemony shallots, MSG, parsley, and lemon juice. It’s light and flavorful…oh, and did we mention totally vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free?

17. Autumn Vegetable Tian With Cheddar

“A bubbly, cheesy riff on the classic Provençal casserole: Here, the more typical warm-weather veggies are swapped for cozy fall produce, topped with sharp cheddar, and baked in a skillet instead of a tian,” says recipe developer Samantha Seneviratne.

18. Roasted Cranberry Sauce With Orange

If you’re pro-homemade cranberry sauce vs. the “straight from the can” type, this complex, fragrant version will blow you and your guests away.

19. Goguma Mattang (Candied Sweet Potatoes)

Candied sweet potatoes sound like a lot of work right? Fortunately for home cooks everywhere, all it takes is five basic ingredients—Korean or Japanese sweet potatoes, oil, granulated sugar, black sesame seeds, and roasted peanuts.

20. Super Fluffy Rolls, 3 Ways: Plain, Garlic, and Pretzel

If you want to give the impression of putting in way more effort than you actually did, and then brushing off compliments with “oh, it was no big deal!,” then this is the Thanksgiving side dish for you. It’s a recipe for 3-in-1 dinner rolls that are guaranteed to please every single guest at the dinner table.

21. The Only Roasted Cauliflower I Want

Whoever said cauliflower was bland and boring never tasted Rebecca Firkser’s roasted version with garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, golden raisins, and a drizzle of vinegar.

22. Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

This cheesy, creamy, over-the-top potato side dish for Thanksgiving is what dreams are made of. Caramelized onions are incorporated throughout each layer for some savory sweetness that offsets the rich cream sauce.

23. Roasted Autumn Vegetables with Walnut-Miso Sauce

The beauty of this vegetable side dish for Thanksgiving is that you can use whatever produce is available at the farmers’ market…or frankly, what’s in your crisper drawer. Here, Diana Henry used a simple but memorable combination of carrots, celery root, butternut squash, and onions.

24. Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

There’s nothing like homemade gravy, but it can often be a mad dash to whisk it up at the last minute after the turkey has come out of the oven. You want to make use of all those fantastic caramelized brown bits at the bottom of the roasting pan without worrying that everything else will start to get cold. The solution? Make-ahead gravy! Seems obvious, but we have a recipe that you can do up to a week in advance and feel confident that it will taste like it was made day-of.

25. Vegetarian Mushroom Thyme Gravy

Even if non-meat eaters won’t be digging into the turkey, they still deserve a savory gravy to drizzle over mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, and flaky roll after flaky roll. That’s where this umami-rich gravy comes in.

26. Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pears & Pistachios

Roasted Brussels sprouts make an excellent side dish all year long, but we especially love this fall-ready version with tangy-sweet pears and crunchy pistachios.

27. Pear, Brandy & Walnut Cranberry Sauce

If canned cranberry sauce isn’t your thing, don’t write off this classic condiment just yet—try this homemade cinnamon and brandy-infused version made with fresh cranberries. It just might change your mind.

28. Crispy Delicata Rings With Currant, Fennel & Apple Relish

One of the greatest things about delicate squash: you don’t have to peel it. Simply slice into rings, remove the seeds, roast with lime, and top with a zingy fennel and apple relish.

29. Martha Stewart’s Macaroni & Cheese

Over 100 glowing reviews don’t lie: this lusciously cheese macaroni and cheese from Martha Stew is the bomb.

30. Harvest Stuffing Bread

Get all those cozy, carb-y stuffing flavors in a single loaf with this soft, tender white bread packed with lots of dried herbs and spices, from dried onion powder and celery seed to dried sage and thyme.

31. Homemade Green Bean Casserole

This isn’t your average green bean casserole. Here, snappy haricots verts get dressed up in a lush wine and shallot-spiked mushroom béchamel. Basically, side dish heaven.

32. Mashed Potatoes With Caramelized Onions & Goat Cheese

Up the Thanksgiving ante by fancy-ing up your next batch of regular mashed potatoes with a mix of mellow-sweet caramelized onions, punchy goat cheese. and garlic.

33. Northern Spy’s Kale Salad

Side dishes you can prep in advance are a lifesaver during the holidays, and for that reason, this make-ahead kale salad with studded with squash, almonds, and pecorino is on the menu often.

34. Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprout & Bread Stuffing With Apples

If you have friends or family who need a bit of convincing that vegan dishes can be just as tasty and satisfying as their non-vegan counterparts, make them this wow-worthy bread stuffing with squash, herbs, alliums, and apples.

35. Edna Lewis & Scott Peacock’s Sweet Potato Casserole

You won’t find golden-browned marshmallows topping this sweet potato casserole, but don’t worry—this recipe calls for a layer of sugar-crusted pecans over smooth, whipped sweet potatoes that’s just as satisfying (if not better).

36. Classic Parker House Rolls

Warm, toasty dinner rolls are a must for any Thanksgiving spread, and these classic Parker House rolls are one of our go-to recipes for a crowd.

37. Diane Morgan’s Classic Mashed Potatoes

These traditional mashed potatoes have a trick that makes them extra fluffy and flavorful: mix in the melted butter first, then add the warmed-up milk.

38. Angel Corn

This creamy baked corn casserole has been a part of former Food52 Editor Cory Baldwin’s Thanksgiving tradition for as long as she can remember. She calls it “a magnificent excuse for a vegetable” and we can’t help but agree.

39. Roasted Carrot Soup

For the best-tasting carrot soup, roast your carrots in the oven with nothing but olive oil and salt until they’re soft and lightly browned before blending with stock and seasonings.

40. Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole

This dish has all your major food groups: vegetable, carbohydrate, and cheese. Inspired by the classic recipe from the side of a can, my version of the comforting casserole has been spread out onto a sheet pan so that the rice can caramelize and get extra crispy. If you’re like my family members—who love rice—then this may replace the turkey at your table this year.

41. Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric-Tahini Sauce & Pistachios

If you’re throwing a vegetarian Thanksgiving, we think this doozy of a whole-roasted cauliflower with dried Kalamata olives, a crunchy pistachio-sesame condiment, and turmeric-tahini sauce would make a showstopping side dish for sharing.

42. Sheet-Pan Cornbread Stuffing With Sage

Cooking your stuffing on a sheet pan adds a whole new layer of texture: the super-buttery cornbread gets crispy-chewy on the edges and the veggies have just the right amount of bite.

43. Stovetop Green Bean “Casserole”

You can never have too many green bean casserole options, in our opinion, and this four-ingredient stovetop riff is a great addition to any list.

44. Instant Pot Buttermilk & Leek Mashed Potatoes

“All variations are fair game with these potatoes,” recipe developer Ella Quittner says. And her recipe Instant Pot buttermilk and leek mashed potatoes, which comes together in just 20 minutes, is one of our favorites.

45. Sheet-Pan Mac & Cheese With Pumpkin & Brown Butter

We’re big fan of alllll types of mac and cheese, but we especially love serving up this sheet-pan version with pumpkin and nutty brown butter during the holidays.

46. Brown Butter Stuffing

Speaking of brown butter, we love it added to a simple stuffing, like this one with just fresh sage, stock, and eggs.

47. Momofuku’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Fish Sauce Vinaigrette

Typical roasted Brussels sprouts get an extra spark with the addition of a fish sauce vinaigrette with lime juice, chiles, and garlic.

48. Sweet & Smoky Roasted Carrots

“If you love smoked paprika, the odds are high that you’ll love these carrots,” writes Dorie Greenspan of her sweet and smoky roasted carrots.

49. Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

The Instant Pot works its magic again with this creamy, pancetta-y mac and cheese that’s sprinkled with a stovetop-toasted panko.

50. Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Bacon & Balsamic-Cranberry Glaze

These family-favorite Brussels sprouts from longtime Food52 contributor EmilyC call on a few tricks that make them extraordinarily delicious: start with a piping-hot sheet pan and coat the Brussels sprouts in a balsamic-cranberry glaze.

51. Caramelized Butternut Squash Wedges with a Sage Hazelnut Pesto

Fresh sage and roasted butternut squash are a pitch-perfect autumn pairing, but the hazelnut, sage, and ricotta salata pesto(ish) drizzle really takes the combo over the top.

52. Creamy Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms

Expect to make an extra-large batch of these addictive sausage-stuffed mushrooms—they’re pretty much guaranteed to disappear the second they hit a serving dish.

53. Heavenly Oatmeal-Molasses Rolls

You don’t need to be an seasoned bread-maker to pull off these oatmeal and molasses rolls—the method is exceptionally straightforward and the dough is a dream to work with (no kneading necessary).

54. The Best Pan-Roasted Potatoes

You won’t need more than three ingredients—potatoes, oil, and salt—to pull off these crispy-edged pan-roasted potatoes, which are indeed, the very best.

55. Corn Pudding

Let one Food52 community member’s review of this corn pudding help you decide whether or not to give it a try: “I LOVED this recipe. It was the star of my Thanksgiving menu!!!! My relatives would not stop talking about it the whole meal.”

56. Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin and Cilantro

Cauliflower’s natural sweetness shines after a stint in the oven, plus it gets a nice complement with smoky cumin and bright cilantro.

57. Seared and Glazed Parsnips with Rosemary

Parsnips may not get the same fanfare as this season’s other root vegetables, but these smoky seared-meets-charred parsnips deserve just as much attention as carrots, sweet potatoes, and the like.

58. Mashed Potato Focaccia

Your new favorite focaccia recipe has a secret ingredient that makes it the most tender of them all: mashed potatoes. Make an extra portion of mashed potatoes when you’re prepping Thanksgiving dinner and use them here for an incredibly soft, bread-y side.

59. Autumn Root Vegetable Gratin with Herbs and Cheese

Who would turn down a cheesy gratin with garlic-infused milk, Gruyère, and your fall’s favorite root vegetables (like potatoes, parsnips, and butternut squash)? Not us.

60. Roasted Pear and Rainbow Chard Salad

Lemony vinaigrette, chèvre cheese, roasted-till-golden pears, and a bed of tender rainbow chard strike the perfect balance of tart, sweet, creamy, and earthy.

61. Roasted Acorn Squash with Maple and Red Pepper Flakes

This roasted acorn squash is simple and delicious, requiring little more than the ingredients that are listed in the recipe’s title.

62. Grilled Potato and Green Bean Salad

Potato salad is a summer staple, but this ” feisty, grilled version” fits right in during the chillier months.

63. Roasted Delicata Squash Stuffed with Autumn Farro

Squash stuffed with fennel and pistachio-spiked farro makes a hearty side dish, but it can also stand in as the main on a vegetarian Thanksgiving table.

64. Paul Kahan’s Panzanella With Roasted Leeks, Pecans & Apples

Leeks, cut lengthwise and roasted, shine in this easy panzanella (aka bread salad) alongside toasty pecans and crisp apples.

65. Sautéed Dates with Roasted Butternut Squash, Wheatberries and Blue Cheese

“This salad has many of my favorite things: sweet, caramelized dates, funky blue cheese, spiced, roasted squash, and peppery arugula,” reads the Test Kitchen notes on this hearty salad. Yep, we’re sold.

66. Stewy White Beans with Escarole, Garlic, and Sizzled Rosemary

These stewy white beans silky escarole are easy, one-pot, and call for budget-friendly ingredients, so basically you’re looking at the ideal side dish.

67. Baked Ricotta with Mushroom Confit and Balsamic Brown Butter

This baked ricotta takes a few uncomplicated ingredients—ricotta, mushroom, garlic, and balsamic, for starters—and turns them into something spread-able, dip-able, and totally dreamy with a few easy steps.

68. Autumn Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette

According to one reviewer, this fall-friendly salad “tastes as good as it looks,” which must be very, very good.

69. Steam-Roasted Carrots with Cumin

“The beauty of this recipe is in the method—adding water right before you roast, and covering the pan,” writers former Food52 editor Kenzi Wilbur of her five-star steam-roasted carrots.

70. Thanksgiving Root Vegetable Pie

This savory, vegetarian-friendly pie can be prepped a day or two ahead of time, so all you have to do on Thanksgiving is roast your vegetables and bake everything.

71. Cream-Baked Endive with Bacon and Pecans

“Endive browned to perfection and then slathered in a cheesy cream sauce, topped with bacon and pecans?” asks our Test Kitchen notes. The answer is yes. Always yes.

72. Molly Stevens’ Roasted Fennel, Red Onion, and Orange Salad

Three winter standbys—fennel, onion, and orange—make a bright and fresh-tasting trio in this absurdly simply salad recipe.

73. Carlo Middione’s Polenta Facile

Heaps of turkey, roasted vegetables, and even a dollop of cranberry sauce would all taste great over this creamy, two-ingredient polenta—yep, we’re talking polenta and salt.

74. Judy Rodgers’ Roasted Applesauce (and Savory Apple Charlottes)

This ultra-comforting applesauce is just like what you might buy in a plastic cup—only a bit more fresh-tasting and balanced (thanks to a splash of apple cider vinegar).

75. Roasted Root Vegetables with Cider Vinaigrette

It doesn’t get more traditional than a tray of roasted root vegetables, but the addition of a sweet-tart vinaigrette takes things to the next level.

76. Compound Butter & Herb Roast Turkey

We didn’t forget about the turkey! Pair this recipe for roast Thanksgiving turkey with any of our classic side dishes.

This article was updated in September 2022 by our editorial team who is already hungry for Thanksgiving side dishes.

What’s the must-have side at your Thanksgiving every year? Let us know in the comments below (and psst—please share the recipe if you have it).

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